Are you starting a home improvement remodeling project or just looking to add an electric fireplace to your home? Chances are, if this is you, you’ve started looking and have become incredibly overwhelmed with the multitude of choices that are out there. There are a wide variety of electric fireplace types, brands, and even models within each brand. If you aren’t careful, you can get something that doesn’t quite meet your needs or is a low-quality brand with poor performance.
Whether you are looking for a great way to heat your home, you want to enjoy the atmosphere of a fireplace, or you are just checking out your options, this guide is here to help you along the way. You may have some questions about the different types of electric fireplaces or if a fireplace can be a free standing electric fireplace. You may also want to know the benefits of the different kinds of fireplaces or what brands you should be looking at for your home. You may even be looking for options to save space because your home doesn’t have a lot of square feet that need to be kept warm. This post will answer a lot of these questions and a bit more.
What Will Be Covered In This Post?
If you are someone that is just checking out your options but are also interested in wood or gas fireplaces, be sure to read this first section carefully. In this section, we will uncover all of the big issues that these traditional fireplaces tend to have, as well as the immense benefits that electric fireplaces have in comparison to them.
If you are interested in free-standing fireplaces, this section will be important. We will define what it means for an electric fireplace to be free-standing and what the different kinds are.
In this section, we will list many of the benefits that are specific to free-standing fireplaces and why you might want to choose one for your home.
Here we will talk about some of the downsides that come with specific types of free-standing fireplaces and why this specific type should be avoided at all costs.
There are many types of electric fireplaces. Even though there is a lot of cross-over with free-standing fireplaces and other types, you will want to know what these different types are so that you can make sure your home has the right fireplace in it.
If Not, What Are Some Good Electric Fireplace Brands? – Generic Amazon fireplaces will generally leave people disappointed. So, before you run out and order the first fireplace you see on Amazon or from your local Walmart, make sure you read this section that covers brands like Dimplex, Southern Enterprises, and more.
There are many decent brands of electric fireplaces, but there is only one brand that can truly say they have flame effects that look like the real thing. In this section, we will talk about this brand and what makes it better than other electric fireplace brands on the market.
Why Is a Freestanding Electric Fireplace a Better Choice Than a Wood Fireplace?
There are tons of problems with the use of traditional fireplaces in your home. Safety is the main concern and why they have been banned from being included with new houses in regions all across the US. Of course, there are other downsides as well. Here are the reasons that you might want to think twice before going with a traditional fireplace that burns wood, or even a gas fireplace:
- They Can Start a House Fire – Both wood and gas fireplaces add to the risk of a house fire due to the exposed flame. However, wood fireplaces are the more notorious of the two because of the soot that builds up on the inside wall of the chimney and around the inside of the flue. Because the soot that builds up is flammable, simply using your fireplace can cause a massive fire inside your chimney and then this fire will spread to the rest of your home and burn it down. This is the reason that people have to have their fireplaces cleaned out by a professional two to three times per year. If this soot isn’t regularly cleaned, a bad house fire is inevitable from regular fireplace use.
- They Produce Harmful Emissions – When burning wood, it is never a complete burn of the material. Because of this carbon monoxide is released into the air. Both smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning are very real concerns with fireplaces. Even with the ventilation provided by the chimney, some always manage to get inside of your home. While gas fireplaces are known to burn a bit cleaner since they don’t produce smoke, an incomplete combustion of the burning gas can also cause carbon monoxide to fill your home.
- The Smoke Smell Will Linger – There is no getting away from it: if you use a wood burning fireplace, there will be a heavy smoke smell in your home. It won’t just linger in the air, but it will also get deep into your furniture, your carpets and rugs, or even the curtains. When you spend time in the same room as your fireplace, that smell gets into your clothes and your hair as well. You may even get used to the smell and not notice it. However, when people come over it will be strongly noticed, and when you leave the house, you will be smelling like smoke everywhere that you go.
- The Smoke Will Cause Stains – Over time, all of the smoke that is produced by wood burning fireplaces will yellow the walls and any light colored carpet or furniture. The wall directly above the fireplace may even become dark grey and start building up soot on the inside of your home, rather than just the inside of the chimney.
- They Are a Hassle To Use and Maintain – Using a traditional fireplace isn’t a walk in the clouds. Just to begin using one, you already have to clean out all of the ash that is accumulated in the bottom of the fireplace. Afterwards, you have to get firewood from your pile, split it, build your fire, start it, wait for it to burn long enough to produce decent heat, keep an eye on it for safety, and add more wood whenever it begins to die down. You also have to extinguish it before you go to bed because of the potential house fire danger.
- They Will Destroy Your Wall Mounted TV – You can’t hang a TV above a traditional fireplace. Both the heat and smoke that rises directly up will damage the internal electronics and the TV will cease to function without getting it repaired. The repairs aren’t usually covered in any kind of warranties because the owner’s manual will have specific instructions for you to not mount them above these kinds of fireplaces.
- They Aren’t Heat Efficient – Burning wood requires two things: ventilation, and a steady stream of air. This ventilation means a lot of heat is being lost through your chimney. For the steady stream of air to keep your fire roaring, you have to crack open a window in the same room. This can allow a cold draft to further cause issues. To make up for both of these, you have to burn a ton of wood just to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
- You Have To Store Wood – Unless you want to have regular deliveries, you are going to need a good amount of space to store wood for your fireplace. This won’t be a problem for people with large garages or backyards, but proves difficult for people with limited space. On top of storage, you have to make sure it stays covered and dry from the elements. On top of that, having a large cache of wood can itself become a fire hazard.
Electric fireplaces are easily a much better choice to go inside of your home. While they have a lot of benefits depending on the type, brand, and model that you choose to go with, here are the core benefits you can expect from all-electric fireplaces:
- There Is No Increased House Fire Chance – Nothing burns when it comes to electric fireplaces, which means there is no added risk of a dangerous house fire like there is with both wood and gas fireplaces. You can have more peace of mind about safety because of this. You also don’t need any kind of ventilation.
- They Don’t Produce Any Dangerous Emissions – No burning also means that there are no harmful emissions like carbon monoxide or smoke. The only thing that will ever be emitted from your electrical fireplace is the clean, warm air that it produces.
- They Don’t Smell or Leave Stains – No smoke also means you don’t have to worry about your walls and furniture being stained over time. There also won’t be any smells lingering in your home or on your person.
- They Are Near Effortless To Use – Unlike wood burning fireplaces, electric fireplaces are simple and easy when you want to use them. They are as easy as turning them on and picking the temperature you want in your home. That is all you have to worry about. From that point on, the electric fireplace knows when to work harder or when to work less to keep your home at the temperature that you’ve selected. Once it is on, you just sit back and forget about it.
- They Are Extremely Heat Efficient – If you have an infrared heating model, which most of the high end electrical fireplaces are, they are very heat efficient. These heaters work by convection. Cooler air from the room is pulled in to be cycled through the fireplace and then pushed back out gently through the fireplace’s blower. As the air cycles through, it is almost instantly heated by the infrared heating coil inside. Because it is so efficient, you can feel warm air coming out of the fireplace almost immediately after you have decided to turn it on. It doesn’t need time to warm up and will make the room warm fairly quickly. On top of this, it uses very little electricity to do so. Since electric fireplaces don’t have ventilation like a traditional fireplace, all of the heat they produce stay in the room. This allows the fireplace to work much less in order to keep your home very toasty.
- They Often Come With a Remote Control – Electric fireplaces will come with a remote control to set the thermostat and change other settings of the fireplace. If you have a premium electric fireplace, it may even come with an app for your smartphone that allow you to change the heat settings on the adjustable thermostat or change the flame effects from anywhere in your home. You don’t even need line of sight like a standard remote.
- They Are Safe For Your Wall Mounted TV – The heat of these fireplaces blows out into the room, and they produce no smoke. That means that they are completely safe if you want to mount your TV up above the mantel of your electric fireplace.
- They Work With Alexa For Voice Activation – People with an Alexa device can install special outlets that let Alexa control when they are on or off. If you plug your electrical fireplace into one of these outlets, you can essentially turn your fireplace on or off with your voice alone.
- They Are Simple To Install Them – Electric fireplaces are usually quite easy to install. For most fireplaces, you just need to find a good space for them against a wall and then plug them into the nearest standard 120 volt electrical outlet. The only time the installation might be more involved is if you chose to install them built into a recessed wall, hanging on a wall, or if you need to have a new electrical outlet installed nearby because one isn’t available.
- You Can Put Them In Any Room Inside of Your Home – Since there is no ventilation needed, and you just have to have a nearby outlet, you can actually install electric fireplaces in any room inside of your home. You aren’t limited to just the main room of your house. You can put them in the dining room, your bedroom, your office, and more. While many people only need one fireplace, this is perfect if you have a very large home and need more than one fireplace in different regions of the home.
- Electric Fireplaces With a 3D Flame Have Authentic Atmosphere and Ambiance – If you are smart and invest in a higher-tier fireplace that uses holographic flames, you can have a fireplace that looks just like the real thing. After installation, when you have guests over, they won’t think twice and will assume it is just a regular fireplace unless you tell them.
Can an Electric Fireplace Be Freestanding?
Yes, they come as free-standing. In fact, the majority of electric fireplaces are technically considered free-standing. These can be mantel units that are placed against the wall or a corner. However, there is something to keep in mind here. Some free-standing units are nothing more than a portable space heater rather than a true electric fireplace. These will be small units that don’t really look like a standard fireplace and look like they should be stored in a closet when you aren’t using them.
What Are The Benefits of a Free-Standing Electric Fireplace?
Having a fireplace that is free standing has its benefits, but keep in mind that this only applies to your standard, quality fireplaces and not the ones that work like small portable heaters. One of the major benefits of free standing fireplaces is that you can easily install them in your home. There is no ventilation that you need to install. You only need access to an outlet.
Another important benefit of a free-standing fireplace is the ability to install it in any room. Lastly, you can decide to move your fireplace from one room to another if you decide to make some changes. Keep in mind that your standard units with a mantel shouldn’t be moved frequently like small portable devices, but if you decide in a couple of years that you prefer this fireplace in the dining room instead of your main room, this is easy to do.
Are There Downsides To Having a Free-Standing Electric Fireplace?
If you have one of the free standing fireplaces that act as a portable heater, these should just be completely avoided. Unlike the larger free-standing units or even compact mantel-style fireplaces, the portable ones that act as space heaters are trying to do too much in too small of a size.
First of all, it has to be able to have a heating element and fire effects in the same unit. Because space is limited and the weight needs to be kept down for portable devices, both of these will be sacrificed. The heater won’t work as well and the fire effects will be poor. In addition to this, they usually have a very tacky and cheap design, so they aren’t very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. If you like the idea of a portable heating device, here is what you should do. Get a standard free-standing fireplace like one of the electric mantel units that are placed against the wall.
These have better heaters inside of them and produce much better visual effects when buying the right brand. Use this as your main fireplace. Then, buy a standard space heating device as your secondary option. Don’t get one that tries to look like a fireplace. This space heating device will work much better, and if you get a decent brand, it won’t look so tacky. You can keep it stored in a closet or in a garage until it is needed. Cases, where you may need to use these portable devices, is if you have a guest over and the guest room is on the far side of your house, away from your main fireplace. However, if that part of the house is frequently used, you are again better off getting a standard electrical fireplace for that area as well and setting your home up for zone heating.
What Other Types of Electric Fireplaces Are There?
While there are many types of fireplaces that cross over with free-standing fireplaces, there are many that don’t. This section will cover the different types of fireplaces you can get for your home, which ones are usually free-standing models, and which ones are not.
- Mantel Electric Fireplace Package For Flat Wall – These are fireplaces with a mantel that surrounds it. They are placed against the wall, on the floor. Technically, these are a free-standing type of fireplace, but they are designed to look like they are part of your wall like a traditional fireplace.
- Corner Electric Fireplace Unit – These are free-standing fireplaces and are just the same as the mantel units above. However, these units are built to fit into the corner of a room.
- TV Stand Electric Fireplace Unit – These look like a standard TV stand media console, but they have in them an electric fireplace. It is built right into the body and usually has space for other things like shelves or cubby holes like a standard TV stand. Keep in mind that because of the electric fireplace, there is reduced space for your media collection or devices compared to a standard entertainment center. Also, many brands have to sacrifice on the quality of the electric fireplace that is inside of these because of the reduced space.
- Corner Electric Fireplace Entertainment Center Unit – If you want to combine a corner unit and a TV console unit, they have those as well. These are console units that sit in the corner. Unlike a standard corner unit, they have additional shelves and cubby spaces.
- Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace – A wall-mounted electric fireplace is exactly what it sounds like. They are fireplace units that you can wall mount using special brackets that secure the fireplace to the studs behind the drywall in the room. These are also great if you want to install them in a recessed wall to further improve accessibility and walking space in the room. When recessed, they look great with bookcases or bookshelves built into the wall on either side of it.
- Fireplace Electric – This is an electrical insert unit that doesn’t come with a mantel or anything like that. Instead, this will get installed into the firebox opening of your existing wood-burning fireplace, converting it into a fireplace that is completely electric. By doing this, you don’t have to worry about wasting the chimney and housing of your existing fireplace, but instead can repurpose it for electric fireplace use.
- Electric Fireplace Stove – An electric fireplace stove is one that is trying to look like a more traditional, rural wood stove. These typically aren’t found in many modern homes but are instead a look more associated with cabins, lodges, or other wilderness-style homes.
Are Generic Amazon Fireplaces Okay To Buy? If Not, What Are Some Good Electric Fireplace Brands?
There are many electric fireplace brands that are decent. Brands like Dimplex, Southern Enterprises, and Duraflame are all okay. However, you have to be careful as many of their models are much smaller, compact, portable freestanding electric fireplaces that will not live up to the standard electric fireplaces. You have to be aware of how good the infrared heater is inside of it that can easily warm homes with a lot of square feet, or if it even is an infrared electric fireplace, to begin with. You also need to make sure that visual effects are good.
Do they use tacky mechanical devices? Do they use a boring LED flame? Do they have an adjustable flame with a brightness setting? Do you want something with a beautiful wood mantel or do you want a basic stainless steel housing? While some of these brands are okay and certainly better than tacky generic brands, if you want a quality fireplace with a powerful heater and an ultra-realistic fireplace experience, you need to get an electric fireplace from MagikFlame.
Which Electric Fireplace Brand Has The Most Realistic Flame?
MagikFlame electric fireplaces have a flame effect that can simulate a real flame and they also include additional features that make them one of the best electric fireplaces for the living room of your new home or your existing living room remodel. Here are all of the features that make MagikFlame fireplaces popular for homeowners:
- Realistic Holographic 3D Fire Effects – The flame effects inside of MagikFlame fireplaces are the most realistic you will see. We are indistinguishable from a traditional fireplace. Inside of MagikFlame fireplaces is a physical log set with an ember bed underneath it. When you turn on the fireplace, 3D holographic flicker flames will be projected onto it. You can choose between 30 different ultra-realistic flames with a simple button push. This allows you to choose the perfect fireplace mood.
- Audio Atmosphere Enhancements of Crackling Logs – MagikFlame fireplaces aren’t limited to just amazing visual effects. We have incredible audio effects as well. As you see the flames flicker inside of MagikFlame fireplaces, you also get to hear the crackling of logs as well. For any even more relaxing time, you can also turn on some soothing nature sounds that are included.
- 5,200 BTU Infrared Quartz Electric Fireplace Heater – The quartz heater inside of each MagikFlame fireplace can easily keep a home of up to 1,000 square feet warm. This is enough for most small homes, as well as normal sized apartments and condos. If you have a larger home with more than 1,000 sq. ft., you can set up a zone heating strategy with a second MagikFlame electric fireplace. By only turning on a fireplace in the portion of the home that is being used while closing off doors between rooms, you will actually save even more on your heating bill. Over time this will allow the fireplaces to pay for themselves with the savings.
- Smartphone Control – Instead of a standard remote, MagikFlame fireplaces come with a more innovative smartphone app that lets you turn them on and change any of their features. The app is easy to use and has large, graphic buttons.
- Beautiful and Timeless Fireplace Aesthetics – The mantels that MagikFlame fireplaces are built into have a wonderful, clean aesthetic and work well in modern and rustic homes alike. They have different model sizes and styles. All of their fireplaces are designed to look timeless. They won’t look outdated and out of place in ten to twenty years.